The objective of this program is to train an outstanding pool of graduate students to carry out independent research at the forefront of chemical biology, using concepts and experimental approaches drawn from many areas of chemistry and biology. It is our hope and expectation that these graduate students will emerge from their training to be among the scientific leaders of the future. The training program offers an extraordinary range of training opportunities in chemical biology. Faculty members at Harvard's Cambridge campus including those in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology (CCB) offer world-class expertise in the disciplines spanning organic chemistry and the molecular life sciences, while faculty members at the Harvard Medical School (HMS) offer outstanding strengths at the interface between the molecular life sciences and biomedical problems. In addition, the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT is a leader in the development of technology to exploit the uses of genomic information, including chemical technologies. The core of our program is a broad, deep and rigorous curriculum. Program students receive core training in kinetics, chemical structure and reactivity as well as the application of thermodynamic concepts in the context of biology. A unifying theme of first year coursework and discussions is the role of chemical tools and approaches in dissecting biological pathways. In addition to the required courses, and depending on their particular interests, students also take elective courses in synthetic organic chemistry, microbiology, cell biology, structural biology, genetics and genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and systems biology. Students are exposed to an unusual range of technologies and concepts in chemical biology through coursework, interactions with faculty and other students, and Program events such as the Program retreat and Student Data Club. In addition, trainees gain teaching experience and receive broad training in responsible conduct of research at different stages of the program. The Program thus represents a mechanism to transfer concepts and technologies from chemistry to biology, medicine and genomics and vice versa.
Chemical biology is a key link between the basic discovery efforts of biology labs and the drug development efforts of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. This program trains students in the chemical tools and approaches used to address problems in human health, including chemical synthesis, natural product chemistry, mass spectrometry (metabolomics, proteomics), high throughput screening, and microscopy, including state-of-the-art single molecule methods.
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